Rach and I love tasting menus, we recently went to La Rock to experience their tasting menu. On the first Friday of the month, they hold a 9 course tasting menu. This menu allows you to try 9 small dishes over a course of roughly 4 hours.
We went as a group of 4 as apart of a celebration meal for it being Rach’s Birthday and our first proper meal out since we had our son Edwin. I originally tried to book a table but they were full, luckily for us they did have a cancellation. We didn’t know our friends were going as well, once we found out La Rock were more than happy to move us to a table of 4 so we could enjoy the night together.
On arrival we were given a warm welcome and asked if we wanted a seat first or shown to our table. We asked to be seated, which we were and menus were soon brought out to show what we would be having during the night.
Here is the menu for the night….
As La Rock only do a tasting once every month, they change the menu monthly. Makes me want to go back again so I can see what other dishes they will do.
We ordered our drinks, they do offer a package where you get to try a range of wines with each course. I decided not to go for this though, however one of the party did and enjoyed them.
Prior to our food starting to come out, we did get to experience a couple of different amuse-bouche. They were all very tasty, one of which really stood out. It was a mini fish and chip and it tasted just like the real thing, nice and salty. If I could find out how to make that, Id jump at the chance.
The first dish was a medley of all things beetroot. I have seen a few dishes that do beetroot in different ways and always wanted to try one. Its given me the inspiration of trying it, it goes to show how versatile beetroot is!
On the plate was a smudge of puree which then sat presse and mousse of beetroot, some cubed beetroot and then an amazing beetroot crisp. Sprinkled around was beetroot dust. I have to say the winner for me was the crisp, it tasted perfect.
The second dish was chicken that was marinated in a teriyaki sauce. I loved the taste of the chicken, it had some great flavours. The chicken sat on a bed of Daikon, which is something I have never had before. Daikon is a type of radish, it’s slightly milder than your typical radish.
The daikon was then on an oriental spiced emulsion that went really well with the teriyaki chicken. Placed to the side was a crispy chicken skin, which tasted amazing!
It might look like a small bit of sea bass but it is a mouthful of amazingness (is that a word?) It was cooked to perfection with a tasty skin on top. The Sea bass was on a celeriac puree with celery and a few hazelnuts that were covered in honey.
All on all the dish worked very well and I could happily eat it again and again!
I have not had that many deconstructed dishes and as I love steak, I was looking forward to this dish the most. The beef sat on a bed of mushroom, garlic and chive pancake. The beef itself was incredible. It was cooked just how I like it and had a lot of flavour. I have had a few steaks in my time and must say it was impressive.
Laid over the top of the beef was a nice stick of puff pastry. You could get a nice combination of flavours and it worked really well as a beef wellington.
The mains were done, now it’s time to get into the desserts. This course was a palate cleanser, ready for the up and coming desserts.
There were 4 different textures of Melon. Melon spheres, Melon jelly, Melon custom and iced Melon. They all worked really well together and had some great tastes/textures. It was nice that the palate cleanser was not just a bowl of sorbet but something different and tasty.
The first of the dessert courses was a yummy white chocolate parfait. It came with black cherry and pistachio. It all went very well and tasted great. I have to admit, I completely forgot to take the picture and started eating…what can I say it looked yummy!! 🙂
We decided to pay the extra for the cheese course. I love cheese so couldn’t really say no to having it. The dish comes as a serving for 2 people. Unlike some places you actually get a decent amount of cheese, more than enough for two people.
The course came with 4 different cheese, a nice range of biscuits, grapes and a tasty soused celery. Well worth the additional £6!
Now we have reached the last course of the tasting menu at La Rock. I came and I have to admit I was impressed with the plating, although was gutted it was the last course. (Even though I was very full!!)
The Posset came with a candied orange on top, there was some brand snap and a nice range of different citrus gels/textures.
We then enjoyed a nice selection of petit fours. These included jelly, nut and chocolate. Ill be honest I did struggle to eat them after such a nice meal (and being somewhat full!) Each one was however very tasty and finished the meal off well.
The tasting menu was finalised that very week. I think they did an excellent job, everything seemed to go really well together. It would be interesting to find out the thought process and what they did to develop the menu.
After trying this menu I really would love to try another tasting night. If you don’t get a chance to go on the tasting, the normal evening menu looks just as impressive. There are a number of dishes that I really want to try, can almost guarantee i’ll be returning to La Rock.
I cannot fault the staff. From the moment we were seated, they were very friendly and knowledgeable on the dishes. We were told about each of the wines that were associated with each course and the staff member that served the dish also explain what was one it.
Interestingly each member of staff wore gloves when serving the plates, which I think was a nice touch.
La Rock should be proud of each of their team that night, we were very happy with the service we received.
If you are wanting to experience fine dining, whether during the tasting night or non tasting night then La Rock is perfect. The quality of the food is excellent and the price is very reasonable for what you do get.
If visiting Nottingham or if you live in Nottingham, this is a great restaurant to visit whether as a group or a romantic meal. On a personal level it would be incredible to learn more about the food development they do and would also be really cool to tour the kitchens/meet the chefs (maybe next time :P)
I will certainly be visiting La Rock again and do think it is somewhat of a hidden gem, as many people I have spoken to have not heard of it before. I cannot recommend it more, brilliant experience!
If you do go, please do let me know what you think in the comments below
Visit the La Rock Nottingham Website to make your booking – www.larockrestaurant.co.ukContinue reading
Sat Bains has been a restaurant that I have wanted to visit for a number of years now, it’s a 2 michelin star restaurant based in Nottingham. Its owned and ran by the incredible chef Sat Bains, who had one of his dishes win on The Great British Menu.
In February we went to Sat Bains for my brother-in-law’s belated Birthday/valentine’s day and it was an experience I will never forget. Not only was it my first experience eating at a michelin star restaurant, it was my first tasting menu. On top of that I have never been on the chef’s table before, something I cannot wait to experience again!
We arrived at Sat Bains Restaurant a little early but on arrival we were welcomed warmly and our coats were taken. We were seated in the bar area, which was very cosy and relaxing. The sommelier provided us with the wine lists and left us to take a look. At Sat Bains Restaurant they do a wine pairing option which allows you to pair a different glass of wine with each course, the price does vary on the amount of courses you do have and personally I think its great value if you like trying excellent wines.
We decided to order a bottle of prosecco which was recommended by the sommelier for its flavour, each wine/prosecco was based on a colour system which determined the flavour and aromas of the specific bottles. Our drinks quickly arrived and soon followed with the tasting menu, we were given a quick introduction to each course and offered to add an additional course to the menu which had a supplement of £15 per person. This addition was the Eggs 62 Degrees, which was the dish that Sat Bains took to the Great British Menu. We all decided to add this to the experience, I saw images of it before and just had to try it 🙂
After enjoying a glass of prosecco and having a quick chat we were shown through to our table. As I said I have never experienced the chef’s table before so was not really sure what to expect. We walked through past the main restaurant and through a sliding door, this revealed a cosy room that had a large wooden table in the middle and was set out perfectly. There was another door which went straight into the kitchen where the chefs were already working incredibly hard.
Our seats pointed straight into the kitchen so whilst we were waiting for our courses and having a chat we could see exactly what the chefs were doing and how they work, it was very interesting being able to see a working kitchen of such high caliber.
Sat himself came out of the kitchen and gave us a warm welcome, bringing a selection of breads with him and explaining what they were. The breads were very tasty we had treacle bread which was amazing and the butter would be “best butter”, it was made specifically for restaurant Sat Bains and came from oxford. It had a high content of sea salt which added to the creamy delicious texture.
With each course that came out two of the chefs would come and hand them to us and then explain what the dish was and give us any opportunity to ask any questions. All of the chefs were very friendly and knowledgeable in what they had worked on.
As I said before this was my first experience of a tasting menu so was not sure what to expect, each dish however looked incredibly impressive and tasted amazing. Sat Bains and his team really put a lot of thought into the different flavours that go into each dish.
After our bread arrived we had a horseradish appetizer and a thick artichoke soup, the appetizer had a nice kick to it and the soup was full of great flavour. The next dish was the Eggs 62 degrees and was actually my favourite dish. The egg was poached for 2 hours until it had pasteurized and was served with peas, crispy bacon and an incredible pea and mint sorbet. The egg was perfectly runny and the sorbet was a unusual yet perfect addition, I can see why it won on Great British Menu.
This was followed up by the scallop which looked very interesting, it had on the top a crisp very much like a prawn cracker made from tapioca but the entire dish was black with the crisp covered in squid ink. The scallop itself was cooked perfectly and tasted incredible it was rolled in ash to give it a very unique and unusual flavour.
The next dish I think was my second favourite dish, it was a chicken parfait which I believe was frozen and included muesli. It had a strange taste but I think that’s why I liked it, as it was so different to anything I have tried before.
During all of these courses the chefs continued to come in and explain the dishes as well as John the head chef, who was more than happy to answer the questions we had. It was crazy being able to stand up and just watch all of the action of the kitchen, which actually looked like a well oiled machine 🙂
The next dish was very nice and interesting to look at, it was a potato done in a kind of clay oven which then had its insides spooned out and covered in a basil oil to give it the green colour and nice taste. The Skin was then made even more crispy and was served with the potato, looks very simple but tastes incredible. The following main taster we had was beef carpaccio with 2 types of puree and potato crisps, which again were very nice. I am a fan of carpaccio and have had it a few times, this was however my favourite by far!
There were two more dishes before we got onto our sweets a interesting turnip tagliatelle with a pesto on top, which was actually made in front of us by the chef which was nice. It was good to ask her what it was made from and she was very knowledgeable. The last one was very nice, it had pheasant which was actually the first time I have had this meat and it didn’t disappoint. It was nice as I dont think it was too gamey, John the head chef explained a great deal about the dish and was more than happy to talk about other types of game bird. He also gave the great tip of sweating the meat prior to the onions, which I will remember 😉
By this time we were all getting very full and the drink was flowing very well, which had continued to be filled up by the sommelier (who continued to do a great job throughout the night). The chefs were more than happy to let us rest a little and give us a break, which was nice as we didn’t feel rushed at all. During our break John was more than happy to show us around the kitchen as well as answer any questions we had during our tour. It was nice to be able to see all of the different sections in the kitchen, it’s surprising how big it is and how much is going one at each station.
Now I was torn, I was glad to be on sweets as I do have a sweet tooth but then at the same time I was gutted as didn’t want the experience to end!!! The first dish of sweets was a sea salt fudge with a passion fruit jel on top, which was very nice. It had a mixture of salt from the fudge and sweetness from the passion fruit this was called the “crossover” going fro savoury to sweet with a hint of both! With this was a stick of candy floss which one of the chefs did advise us that to get the full effect we should put it all in our mouth in one go, the size of my mouth that was more than possible.
It was very nice! You got the taste of candyfloss but then a soft fruit centre which was not expected but a very pleasant surprise it tasted citrusy almost like an explosion of flavours in the mouth in a instant! Following the candyfloss was a ice cream with a honey based cone and what reminded me of sugar puffs on top.
The next sweet was the 2nd to last one and was brought out by Sat, he told us there was a hidden ingredient and we had to guess what it was. It looked like a large aero chocolate bar and We tasted and thought for awhile, it reminded me of a memory I had and went with that but then changed my mind to follow what Rach thought and was wrong! Interestingly I was initially right so means I should trust my taste buds!! I won’t reveal what it was as it would be a nice surprise 🙂
We spent some time talking to Sat about being a chef, his journey as being a chef and about his team. It was very interesting learning about him and his team, I thought he was really approachable and he seemed more than happy to answer any questions. He has an excellent work ethic with his team.
The final desert had arrived, it was interesting as the initial tasting dish without the extra was the black scallops and now it ends with the white ice cream that was made with jasmine. It came with shaved white chocolate and was the perfect dish to end a perfect experience with.
We went back to the bar to enjoy a couple more drinks and was given a log that had a number of large chocolate shards. Each of which was made from different tea flavours such as Chai, earl grey they were very nice and was a great touch. We continued chatting and enjoyed a good few drinks, bear in mind we came at 7:30 and we left at roughly 1 am. They were never pushing us to leave and were more than happy for us to go at our own pace and leave when we were ready, which made the entire night feel relaxed and enjoyable.
Sat Bains is not low in price after all it is a michelin starred restaurant and offers at least 7 course tasting menu, therefore it is not for everyone. It is however an incredible experience and one that I will always remember. Restaurants like this are not like your typical restaurants, they are in a class of their own. I would honestly recommend Sat Bains to anyone, it to me is the very best restaurant in Nottingham and would be the perfect treat.
Out of this world food, staff and experience…Book it! You won’t regret it! 😉Continue reading